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Reinfried, Heinrich M. (1975) "The Tale of Nisuke": Peasant and authorities in Higo around 1800. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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"The Tale of Nisuke," which deals with conditions in the Higo domain of Southern Japan around 1800 as experienced by the peasantry, forms the core of this thesis; it is here for the first time translated and studied in depth. Besides the translation of the text, I have set myself the task of establishing its value as illustrative source material for the student of Tokugawa society by identifying the background of its author and his intentions. In the absence of contemporary references to the "Tale" as well as other clues to assist me in my task, I have had to proceed by analyzing the "Tale" 's content and then to establish its position within the cultural context of Tokugawa society. The resulting socio-cultural portrait of Higo provides at the same time the clues to a correct understanding of the "Tale" as well as a comprehensive insight into rural life in a comparatively backward region of late Tokugawa Japan. The great variety of questions raised by the "Tale," a quality which makes this text so singularly suited as departure point of a cultural study, has forced me to concentrate more intensively on historical questions than would first seem warranted by the subject. All of my commentary must, however, be seen as of immediate importance to a full understanding of the "Tale". The first chapter contains a general introduction to the history of the Tokugawa period, with special reference to the developments in the village. The second chapter traces the political and economic history of the Higo domain in the 18th century to portray conditions which constitute the background to the "Tale". The third chapter contrasts peasant life in the economically advanced regions with conditions in the Higo domain and investigates the role played by the rural priesthood in the life of the peasantry. In the fourth chapter, an introduction to the tradition of critical writing in Tokugawa literature leads to a discussion of the "Tale," followed by my conclusions as to author and purpose of the "Tale". In Part Two, there then follows my annotated translation of the "Tale".

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:09

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